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Libya 89, U.s. 66, Us 36, Benghazi 32, United States 30, Romney 24, Carol 22, Cairo 20, Egypt 19, America 19, Clinton 13, Obama 13, Israel 13, Jacksonville 13, Chris Stevens 11, Iran 9, Tripoli 8, Florida 8, Stevens 8, Washington 8,
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  CNN    CNN Newsroom    News/Business. Latest on the day's top news stories  
   with a focus on global news, trends and destinations. New.  

    September 12, 2012
    6:00 - 8:00am PDT  

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libya in his remarks on the trail from jacksonville in just about 35 minutes. they will be carrying that for you live on cnn newsroom. with that, let's go to carol cost ello. "cnn newsroom" continues right now. carol? and good morning to you. thank you for being with with us. i'm carol costello. we begin, of course, with breaking news. anti-american mob attacks embassy in libya. the white house confirms that u.s. ambassador to libya, j. christopher stevens, is dead along with three other staff members. a radical islamic group led the hours long siege in benghazi, libya. the militants were apparently enraged by a cheaply made online film considered offensive to islam. just last hour one libyan leader joined the international chorus in condemning the tack. >> translator: we apologize to
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the u.s. and to the american people, to the government and also to the rest of the world for what happened yesterday. and at the same time, we expect the world to cooperate with us in order to confront to what is meant out of this kind of cowardice, criminal act. >> that is the libyan ambassador -- i'm sorry, libyan prime minister. cnn foreign aaffairs reporter elise labott is at the state department. you've known ambassador christopher for years. tell us about him. >> carol, what can i say? he was considered, really, at the state department the cream of the crop in terms of diplomatic foreign service officers. this was not a -- we're seeing him in a pinstripe suit right there. he's not really what you consider a pinstripe diplomat, sitting in his office.
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he was out in the field, working with all sectors of libyan society. i first met him in 2007 when the u.s. was trying to restore its ties with the regime of gadhafi. and he was the head diplomat on the ground there. and then after the fall of gadhafi, he was sent as the envoy to the opposition. on the ground in benghazi with the rebels. that's where he was really the most happy, just trying to get this country working with this new government to be ready for the day after. and then after moammar gadhafi fell, he was really considered the only man for the job. he had such an affinity for libya. fluent arab speaker, really considered by everybody as one of the top diplomats of the state department. everyone speaking to friends and colleagues, really mourning his loss today. >> he wasn't on the job for very long, was he? >> he wasn't on the job as u.s. ambassador for very long.
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several months ago i attended his swearing in and secretary clinton swore him in. he has been working on libya for the the past five years, as i said, first as that envoy to the moammar gadhafi regime and then as the envoy to the transitional national council. really libya always in his heart. i remember before he left a lot of us attended a brunch at his house, some journalists and colleagues from the state department. he hadn't been appointed yet. he knew and just wasn't telling us that he was going and he kept talking about how he couldn't wait to go back and help this country start anew and get back on his feet. it's really so tragic that someone -- of course, it's tragic when any u.s. diplomat dies in the line of duty but when someone who loves the country of libya so much dies helping to get the country back on its feet. carol? >> cnn has also learned that
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marines were not securing the embassy in benghazi. marine reinforcements are now on their way to benghazi. barbara starr joins us now. why weren't they securing the u.s. office in benghazi? >> reporter: let me clarify this. it is not a place where marines are typically posted. security is provided three ways to u.s. diplomatic installations. there may be u.s. marine security personnel. there may be state department diplomatic security personnel. those are the type of people that typically travel with the ambassador when he's in a car and there's also many places around the world there are contractor personnel that are hired to provide security. this is all very typical. it remains to be seen what exactly was at benghazi. we are told there were nomar ev -- no marines there.
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there is a group of marines and anti-terrorism security force being sent to the embassy in tripoli, we are told, a reinforcement of the security there. more personnel, heavier weapons, providing more of a presence. we will see what emerges in ben fwauz ghazi. the move is to reinforce tripoli, make sure there's more of a security footprint. the president and secretary clinton talking about putting more security around the world. the big question everybody is asking everywhere, is there enough security, is there the understanding of potential mob threats and is there enough security in place to deal with. >> the pictures s we're looking at, i want to explain, this is marines at consulate in kabul, afghanistan. do we have a picture of the car?
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it looked like a typical car that the ambassador was in. do you know anything about that? and should he have been in a more secured car like an armored car, let's say? >> i would have to see the picture. i have to tell you, we have traveled in these convoys as journalists many times ourselves. they are the typical appearing suvs, if you will, that often are armored and have protective glass in them that you might not -- is that the picture of his car? that you might not -- >> this is a picture of his car. let me interrupt. it was hit by rocket-propelled grenade, rpgs. that's how they attacked the car. >> i thenk what we're looking at is a need for accurate detail here that we simply don't have. what the reporting has been indicating is that as the installation in benghazi was coming under attack, they were perhaps trying to reposition, move to a more secure location. so whether they put him in a car
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just to get him out of there as fast as possible remains to be se seen. it's a little tough, i have to tell you, from this picture to determine whether or not this was a reinforced vehicle. but, look, this -- what we are talking about here is if somebody with a rocket-propelled grenade wants to attack a vehicle, that vehicle is likely to be destroyed unless it's a u.s. military humvee or heavily armored military vehicle. the question on the table is did the libyans understand that this threat was forming? did they deploy the security forces to deal with it? and did the u.s. understand it and have enough security fors on hand to deal with it? security force u.s. installations inside the fence line, it is a u.s. responsibility. out on the street, it is the host nation and it is their responsibility. it is very clear, their responsibility to deal with the violence and make sure it does not threaten an embassy or
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threaten u.s. personnel. if the ambassador has to be moved, however, and goes into this situation out on the street, this is a very difficult circumstance, carol. >> do we know why widespread anti-american sentiment in li a libya, has that been going on? >> my colleague, jomana, in tripoli, would be in a better position to answer that than me. i think it would be fair to say that there are elements of this across libya and across so many places. look what happened in cairo yesterday at the u.s. -- main u.s. embassy in downtown cairo. perhaps hundreds of people coming to the embassy, engaging in violence, tried to climb the fence. and egyptian security personnel -- you can come to your own determination as you look at the pictures, whether you think the egyptians
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responded responded properly or not. as you see these pictures outside of cairo, this is the kind of thing that embassies around the world deal with. make no mistake, there is some danger, some security risk in all of these countries, in all of these situations. floemtic relations with countries if you are going to isolate. one, you do take risks but, two, you make security arrangements with the host country and they are to provide security outside on the streets. was there enough security inside the embassy? was there enough security for the ambassador, sadly, and his team. carol? >> questions that hopefully will be answered soon. barbara starr, thank you so much for putting things into perspective for us.
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thank you very much. let's head out to cairo now. we have a picture of protesters in front of the embassy in egypt. you saw the pictures that barbara showed us. those were from last night. these are from earlier this morning. there are anti-american sentiments on that wall. in fact, there's one sentiment in english, we can't show it to you because it has the "f" word in it. it says u.s.a. and then that word. we've tightened shot so that you can't see that. just wanted to show you that picture. wanted to get an idea of exactly how the deadly attack in libya unfolded. jomana karadsheh is in tripoli. she joins us by phone. exactly how did this happen, jomana? >> reporter: carol, there are conflicting reports right now about what exactly happened and what led to the killing of ambassador stevens and three other employees aat the consulate.
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they are hearing statements made by the deputy interior minister for the eastern part of libya, where benghazi is, saying that the death happened after the embassy and staff were transferred to a secure location. but that was dismissed by the libyan prime minister today a short while ago during a news conference. he refused to go into detail of how the attack unfolded. but said it is under investigation and soon as the investigation is done, they will announce the details and explain what happened. we do know from eyewitnesses at the scene yesterday outside the consulate that rocket-propelled grenades were fired by the armed group that was storming the consulate. there was fierce firefight that took place for hours there. according to one eyewitness who described the scene yesterday as a front line. so, there could have been -- there are a number of different reports of what led to the
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fatalities. but nothing yet confirmed. we are not -- we have not heard yet from the u.s. state department or the embassy here about the details and the libyan government is also doing the same. >> i know that there were people firing rpgs. were there other sources of attacks, too? i've heard that there were grenades tossed into buildings, that the consulate was looted. what have you heard? >> reporter: exactly that, carol. different types of weapons used, heavy machine gun used. i could hear that yesterday on the phone when i was speaking to eyewitnesses outside the embassy. rpgs also fired, as you said. there was a fire, according to eyewitnesses, at the consulate building. this is a country that is awash of weapons. there is no shortage of weapons or armed people around this country. it was a full force attack that took place. whether it started as that or if it escalated into that is
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something that has yet to be seen. >> jomana karadsheh, thank you very much. a closer look at the man who made the film that's inciting this anti-american violence. people says he's an israeli-american real estate developer, sam bacile. he funded the project by raising about $5 million from about 100 jewish donors. he would not identify any of those donors. we've been trying to reach bacile since yesterday and we will try to report as much as we can about this man and the source of his funding. aftermath of violence in libya, war of words, dueling statements have come out over the past 24 hours. we wanted to put them into context for you. before the attacks, u.s. embassy in cairo issued a statement that seemed to apologize for anti-muslim activity in the united states. that prompted the white house to quickly release another statement through an administration official saying
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that cairo embassy remarks were, quote, not cleared. secretary of clinton issued her own statement, condemning the attacks under the strongest possible terms, but that was not quick enough for the romney camp to blasted the obama saying it's disgraceful that the obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions. and then from the obama campaign, we are shocked that at a time when the united states of america is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in libya, governor romney would choose to launch a political attack. end quote. newt gingrich appeared on cnn this morning and blasted president obama. >> when the american flag was torn down and destroyed, an american ambasdor and three other americans are killed, my
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reaction is not to be pleasant and caring of those tearing down our flag and insulting o iassau country. >> brianna keilar is coming to our rescue to break this all down. hi, brianna. >> reporter: hi, carol. president obama learned last night that ambassador stevens was unaccounted for. he didn't learn until this morning that the ambassador was dead and this morning he said i strongly condemn the outrageous attacks that took the lives of four americans, including ambassador stevens. united states rejects efforts to denigr aate the religious beliefs of others, talking about that online film, that many feel is offensive to islam and prompted these protests and violence, obviously. we must all unequivocally oppose the senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants. on the politics of this, carol,
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mitt romney will be speaking from the campaign trail about 9:30 from jacksonville, florida. we'll be looking to see what he says. maybe he's trying to put aa different face on what he's trying to say. we did see a tweet coming out from the chairman of the rnc and it said obama sympathizes with attackers in egypt. sad and path etic. appearing to reference that statement from the embassy of cairo, as if this was the official word of the administration. you talk to administration officials, they'll tell you that's not the official word of the administration. and behind the scenes, carol, i'll tell you that white house officials d obama campaign officials think that in this case mitt romney may have stepped in it. you're hearing this from a lot of pundits as well. because he came out and made the statement before, certainly, all of the facts were known. when he did make his statement last night and we saw this tw t
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tweet, this was at the time that we knew that there was violence, obviously, in the region but we were unaware of how extensive it was. and certainly unaware that the u.s. ambassador to libya had been killed, carol. >> i'm just looking through my e-ma e-mails. eric erickson, a tea party supporter and cnn contributor tweeted out this morning that romney should tread carefully when it comes to this matter. some conservatives are saying, hey, maybe we should take a few steps back. >> reporter: that's right. you're hearing a lot of that. let's remind you of the bigger picture here. a couple of weeks ago when republicans had their convention in tampa, one of the big speakers, you remember, is former secretary of state condoleezza rice, really sort of frame i framing a lot of criticism around president obama and his foreign policy, saying that he was leading from behind, saying that he was more interested in being a friend than being really a strong -- having the u.s. be a
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strong presence. this is the case that the romney campaign and republicans have been trying to build. we're going to see exactly how mitt romney's remarks about this sort of fit into that and whether, perhaps, in his criticism of president obama. >> this bit of information just in from cnn. we've been telling you about that anti-muslim film posted on youtube. we're finding out that afghanistan has banned youtube to prevent access to that anti-islam film, according to a ministry official there. we'll get more information, we'll pass it along. talking to a former u.s. ambassador to iraq to get his perspective on the deadly violence in libya. they're whole grain good... and yummy good. real fruit pieces. 12 grams of whole grains and a creamy yogurt flavored coating. quaker yogurt granola bars. treat yourself good.
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be pmaking a statement on what' happening in benghazi and the death of our ambassador there in jacksonville in about 15 minute s. we'll carry that live for you. one of the most valued allies, israel, is all over iran's development of a nuclear weapon. in an interview with bloomberg radio, secretary hillary clinton saying, in part, quote, are not setting deadlines. that's a revens to potential consequences if iran continues to develop nuclear weapons. clinton's comment didn't sit too well with the israeli prime minister beng man netanyahu, who came back with this fiery responsible. >> the world tells israel, wait. there's still time. and i say wait for what? wait until when? those in the international community who refuse to put red
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lines before iran don't have a moral right to place a red light before israel. so far we can say with certainty that diplomacy and sanctions haven't worked. and the fact is that every day that passes, iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs. now, if iran knows that there is no red line, if iran knows that there's no deadline, what will it do? exactly what it's doing. it's continuing, without any interference. >> senior international correspondent sarah seidner joins us. that president obama doesn't have time to meet with netanyahu
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and he was upset and that the tw talked over the phone last night and maybe all is well. what are you hearing? >> reporter: well, it's interesting to note that you did hear the white house knock down its report that president obama snubbed mr. netanyahu, coming to new york for the u.n. general assembly and had wanted to meet with the president, the white house saying, no, they did not ask for a meeting. nor did we deny one. i was on the phone with israeli prime minister spokesman who said this. he didn't deny this report. he said, look, we -- we were interested in having a meeting with the president. we understood that the time window was very short. but we were willing to go to washington, which seems to contradict what the white house is saying. this is all one of those -- another one of those cracks, seemingly, in the relationship between mr. netanyahu and mr. obama. there is concern here about that relationship, as you might imagine, especially when it comes to iran.
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israel has said time and again that it is willing to do whatever it must do to stop iran from getting a nuclear bomb and the rest of the world should be doing the same. they're very frustrated, as you heard from mr. netanyahu. they believe they're continuing to do what they always have done, continuing to get a nuclear weapon. iran has denied they are doing that. they don't believe that the diplomatic solution or sanctions are having any effect. the united states has made it clear that they don't believe having deadlines are productive but counterproductive and they want to see diplomatic solution to stop iran from moving further. that being said, these tensions between these two leaders -- a lot of people have said this relationship is an icy relationship and it just got icier. a special session has been called and the relationship between israel and united states is one of the reasons that
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session was called because politicians here are concerned about relationships with its biggest ally, the u.s. carol? u.s. marines are enraut to libya where an enraged mob killed the u.s. ambassador and three other staffers. their mission, secure the building and protect remaining americans. christopher hill is a diplomat and former u.s. ambassador from iraq. thank you for joining us, mr. ambassador. >> thank you. >> first of all, when you hear of a diplomat being killed, what goes through your mind? >> first of all, it's a terrible tragedy. it's a tragedy for our country but tragedy for our foreign service community. diplomats all over the world and, as we speak, many other diplomats are risking their lives to carry out our country's interests. so these kinds of situations are truly tragic. and my heart goes out to the families.
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>> so you serve d as ambassador to iraq and i would think that security was always a concern there. from what you've heard, do you think the ambassador had enough security? >> i don't think the time now is to be second guessing the security package. i can absolutely aassure you that security was paramount on the minds of that embassy and the ambassador. the issue will be -- there will be time to discuss this. the issue will be why did he go to benghazi. clearly, he knew the scene there and clearly he knew a lot of the players there. i think a decision was made. you know, it's never an issue of getting rid of risk. it's a matter of managing risk. and that is a very tough thing to do. >> typically, though -- we've been looking at pictures of the car. we don't know details about the car, i'll give you that. typically, in general, what kind of vehicles are used to transport diplomats in dangerous countries? >> in dangerous countries, you
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usually have an suv, a large suv which is heavy ily armored. when i say heavily armored, if an ied goes off right underneath it, that's probably not going to protect the occupants. similarly, a rocket-propelled grenade fired point black blank into the side of an suv can do a lot of damage. this is never a matter of eliminating risk but managing risk and seeing if the gains can outweigh the risks. >> when you're traveling typically -- i'm speaking in general terms -- what kind of security do you have around you? >> it depends on the level of threat. in iraq, we have a lot of security. we would move in fairly large convoys, six to eight cars. in other countries, you could just move alone. when i was ambassador in macedonia, many times i went alone.
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same in poland and korea. but when you're in a place like libya, you would normally have a car in the front, car in the rear and you would have heavily guarded, heavily armed security guards. >> i was going to ask you to gauge the danger in a country like libya. everybody is arm there had, right? there's a new, fragile government in place. what kind of security measures would you expect to be in place? >> again, without second guessing or saying things i know that i don't know, i suspect there's a lot of security. i suspect the ambassador was very carefully protected. i also suspect that the situation in benghazi was very chaotic in recent days and i suspect that the mob there did not just move on their own. i'm sure there was some -- there were some organizers through all of this. it's probably a very dangerous situation, difficult calls were probably made as to what is the best -- where is the best place to have the ambassador. clearly, we had an ambassador who really understood the
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situation in benghazi, knew the people and spent a great deal of time there. i think the decision was made to have him forward deployed there. >> ambassador hill, thank you for being with us this morning. >> thank you. >> we're expecting mitt romney to start spooking at any moment. live pictures from jacksonville, florida. mr. romney informed the media he will probably begin speaking 9:35 eastern time. that's five minutes from now. he is expected to discuss libya and the deadly violence there. when mr. romney starts speak in, we'll take his comments live. we'll be back. e economy needs manufacturing. machines, tools, people making stuff. companies have to invest in making things. infrastructure, construction, production. we need it now more than ever. chevron's putting more than $8 billion dollars back in the u.s. economy this year. in pipes, cement, steel, jobs, energy. we need to get the wheels turning.
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now is your chance to talk back on one of the biggest stories of the day. should the uh-uh states be more es elf with iran? tensions are rising in the middle east again and perhaps again between president obama
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and the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. over what? iran, of course. israel wants the united states to walk the walk. meaning military action sooner rather than later. >> iran will not stop unless it sees clear determination by the democratic countries of the world and a clear red line. >> israel worries by the time we act on iran, it will be too late. u.s. officials there's still time for sanctions to work. israel is the closest country to be affected by nuclear weapons in iran. >> president obama is fond of criticizing israel's leaders, even caught by microphone deriding them, undermined their position, which was tough enough as it was.
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>> our commitment to israel's security must not waiver and neither must our pursuit of peace. the iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambition. >> united? maybe. there was an hour-long phone conversation between obama and netanyahu last night. we don't know if that red line moved but we do know that americans have little appetite for another war. should america be more aggressive with iran? facebook.com/carolcnn. we continue to follow breaking news this morni. four americans now dead following an attack on two u.s. diplomatic buildings.
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jacksonville, florida. they're still setting the stage for mitt romney to come out and talk about libya. he was actually scheduled to begin speaking at 9:35. he is running a little bit late. we may take him or secretary hillary clinton, who is expected to make a statement on libya in just about two or three minutes. and then an hour from now, or thereabouts, president obama, along with secretary of state hillary clinton are expected to issue a joint statement maybe. maybe just president obama will talk. we'll have to wait and see. i'm sure they will address the situation of egypt and libya. cnn has confirmed that u.s. marines are being deployed to libya to help secure u.s. interests there after four people, including the u.s. ambassador to libya were killed in an attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya. crowds of protesters setting fire to the building, expressing their anger over a low-budget
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film that is considered offensive to islam. chris stevens, u.s. ambassador to libya, died in a rocket attack that also killed three security staff members. the last time an ambassador was killed by terrorists was in 1979. in cairo, egypt, protesters scaled the wall of the u.s. embassy and ripped down the american flag. joining me now, author and senior fellow at stanford universi university, fouad ajami. >> this is extremely sad. sometimes words cannot express the absurdity and horror of such things. we've been here before. more than two decades ago the famous episode of writing a book that muslims considered offensive and then people died.
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protests greeted the publication of the book. an offensive film is met with a deeply offensive and violent attack on the consulate in benghazi. the sadness of it is that ambassador stevens worked long and hard for the liberation of the libyan people from the dictator moammar gaud aautography. >> appearing kron earlier today, newt gingrich said these attacks are evident of a wider war that's coming. do you agree with that? >> i don't like these kind of inflammatory statements, general remark. there is already sadness enough from this episode. what we know is the following about liba. libya, the remnants of the gadhafi regime are still around, trying to make sure that this new government, this new order fails and then there are these crazy extremists who are very heavily aarm ed and a while ago the minister of interior
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resigned after admitting that the islamic militants, who are really freelancers and just terrorists basically are more armed than the forces of the government. it's been a very violent year in libya after the fall of the gadhafi regime. this incident was a piece of that breakdown of law and order in libya. >> i know there have been some calls in egypt anyway that the u.s. justice department come down on this man who made this film. do you think that's the right move? >> i don't know about this. i mean, i don't -- carol, i don't think it's a film you or i would like or would even see or would even want to have anything to do with. i think that's not really the -- the answer to a vile film or vchl il ebook or vile deed of ankind is not just wanton violence. and even the president of the libya has denounced this act. i'm not sure it's really about the filmmaker was seeking trouble and he found trouble.
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but this kind of response in the street where people come and attack a consulate, storm a consulate cannot be in any way accepted or given any justification. >> we know the country of afghanistan has blocked this film that's on youtube. afghanistan has blocked youtube so people can't see this film. was that the right move? and should other arab countries do the same? >> well, look, the egyptians responded much better than the libyans. the egyptians -- egyptian government said it believed in peaceful protest. it doesn't believe in this kind of murderous violence. i think governments can do what they wish. if they don't want the film shown, they don't want access to the film, that's fine. but again and again, the response to a film in bad taste, in bad judgment is not going and getting your rocket propellers and attacking an embassy and killing a man who had been
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committed to, and pledged and had worked for the freedom of the libyan people. it's just a sad day for americans. it's a sad day for the family of chris -- ambassador stevens and the people who perished with him. the less provocative people are better at this moment. >> thank you very much for talking with us this morning. >> thank you. bye. as i told you aa few minutes ago, governor romney is expected to speak soon at an event in jacksonville, flchlt he is expected to discuss libya and the deadly violence there. we will bring you his remarks live. also secretary hillary clinton expected to speak on libya any moment now. we'll take a quick break. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro.
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it is 47 minutes past the hour. anti-american violence in libya claims the life of u.s. ambassador j. christopher
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stevens. zain verjee spent a lot o time with stevens, a career diplomat who arrived in tripoli for his latest assignment in may. here, we see the two of them together in libya back in 2006. zain verjee joins us now. i might have to interrupt you, as a warning, if the secretary of state begins speaking or if governor romney begins speaking. i do want people to get to know, you know, the man. because we rarely talk about those killed in action or while on the job, i should say. we want to get a sense of ambassador stevens and what he was like. >> he was a brilliant diplomat, carol. he had a brilliant mind. so well respected by his peers. he was so much fun, had a great sense of humor, was a great friend. he was so passionate about libya and so committed to diplomacy. he was in london a few months ago. we took a nice long walk and had ice cream.
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he was just talking about his life, his family who live in northern california. he talked of his passion for skiing and how he was going to jog no matter what, he said, of the situation in tripoli. he would do his exercise. he was someone who knew, for many years, the dynamics of the middle east. he talks about going there and becoming ambassador, how excited he was. how he saw libya as a new hopeful environment, but he wasn't naive either. this was someone who knew in detail the cultural dynamic, the tribal dynamics, the political and social dynamics of libya in the middle east. he wasn't one of those ambassadors who just liked the photo-op, to be at the briefing to get that photo in there. he went down in the ditch and talked to libyans at the spectrum. they really respected him. the world and libya, in particular, lost a talented diplomat. it's really a blow to diplomacy
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and libya today. >> for many of us to be willing to work in such a dangerous place, i mean i'm sure some people just can't understand it. what about libya drew him? >> he was drawn to the middle east. he had a passion for the people, for the environment, and he was really committed to understanding it and to making the world a better place. you know, so many people who go in to diplomacy have great ideals for making the world a better place. he was a great american. he wanted to represent the country and to promote the ideals of democracy and liberation and free speech and he did it in a way that respected the local and the cultural traditions of a country which is why he was so respected by libyans as well as others in the middle east. and why he was well respected in the united states. i met him for the first time, actually, back when i was covering the state department and condaleeza rice and he was
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the point person for going to tripoli and he was the point person for the transition and the revolution, the u.s. placed him in benghazi and then back at ambassador and all he could talk about was a new hope for libya. what he told me when he was here a few months ago and having brunch with friends of mine, he said one of the biggest concerns was the growth of islamic extremism in north africa, and in particular, libya. he talked a little bit about al qaeda, the growth of the training camps there and the challenges that the region faced and he was committed and he truly represented all that is great in america and everything it stood for and he tried to bring that to the region and today's such a sad day for his friends, for the country and most of all his family. >> zain virgie, thanks for sharing. we appreciate it. once again, we are expecting the secretary of state hillary clinton to begin speaking. she is running a little bit
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late. we expect her behind the podium in just about 15 minutes. you are looking at a live picture of jacksonville, florida. expecting governor mitt romney to come out for remarks on what's happened in egypt and libya. we'll take a break now. we'll be back. [ male announcer ] now you can swipe... scroll... tap... pinch... and zoom... in your car. introducing the all-new cadillac xts with cue. ♪ don't worry. we haven't forgotten, you still like things to push. [ engine revs ] the all-new cadillac xts has arrived, and it's bringing the future forward.
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all right. let's head right to jacksonville, florida, because there's been a change of heart apparently by the romney campaign. people are led out of the room where governor romney was expected to speak about the events in libya and in egypt. but now, we've been informed by the romney campaign that he'll issue a statement only. that will come your way in about 20 minutes. so you can see people being led out of the room. they had set the stage and everything. the podium was there, the flags were set up behind the podium. and we have a producer on the
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scene. she is trying to get information about why romney had this change of heart. okay. let's head to washington now and check in with our state department correspondent. our state department producer i should say. so aleis, hillary clinton is expected to talk in about 30 second. what do you expect she'll say? >> first of all, i think, carol, she'll talk about what a sad day this is here at the state department. you know, u.s. ambassador killed in action. you haven't anything like that since the late '70s and so the state department is really reeling right now. i'm getting e-mails from a lot of colleagues of chris stevens'. just friends of his. i have spoken on the phone this morning. talking about how sad they are. what a day this is. somebody that cared as much -- cared so much about libya would die in action trying to help this country start anew and so i think secretary clinton will talk about what a sad day for the family of the state
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department, condolences to the family, but also, recommit to trying to help this troubled region find its way. i mean, there's going to be a lot of thinking about what the u.s. will be doing as far as policy in the middle east. also, making sure that everybody knows that u.s. is doing everything it can to protect those diplomatic facilities and diplomatic personnel overseas and i also think she'll want to try to tone down the rhetoric, tone down the hyperbole going on right now. there's a lot of talk, a lot of anti-american sentiment so i think secretary clinton will try to strike a very careful balance in terms of voicing sympathy, voicing sadness, but also, trying to just calm everybody down a little bit. >> i know the libyan prime minister came out and condemned these attacks and, you know, vowed to find the people who did this. will that -- i don't know, will that calm things down in that country? will that help? >> well, i think that the u.s.
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is going to be looking to the libyans to find out who's responsible but also to make sure that those diplomatic facilities are taken care of. it's really job number one -- >> let me interrupt. secretary of state clinton is now speaking. >> yesterday our u.s. diplomatic post in benghazi, libya, was attacked. heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. american and libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. four americans were killed. they included shawn smith, a foreign service information management officer. and our ambassador to libya, chris stevens. we are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals. this is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world.
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we condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence and we send our prayers to the families, friends and colleagues of those we've lost. all over the world every day america's diplomats and development experts risk their lives in the service of our country and our values. because they believe that the united states must be a force for peace and progress in the world. that these aspirations are worth striving and sacrificing for. alongside our men and women in uniform, they represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation. in the lobby of this building, the state department, the names of those who have fallen in the line of duty are inscribed in
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marble. our hearts break over each one and now because of this tragedy we have new heroes to honor and more friends to mourn. chris stevens fell in love with the middle east as a young peace corps volunteer teaching english in morocco. he joined the foreign service, learned languages, won friends for america in distant places and made other people's hopes his own. in the early days of the libyan revolution, i asked chris to be our envoy to the rebel opposition. he arrived on a cargo ship in the port of benghazi and began building our relationships with libya's revolutionaries.
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he risked his life to stop a tyrant, then gave his life trying to help build a better libya. the world needs more chris stevens. i spoke with his sister ann this morning. and told her that he will be remembered as a hero by many nations. shawn smith was an air force yvette ran. he spent ten years as an information management officer in the state department. he was posted at the hague and was in libya on a brief temporary assignment. he was a husband to his wife heather with whom i spoke this morning. he was a father to two young children, samantha and nathan. they will grow up being proud of the service their father gave to
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our country. service that took him to baghdad and finally to benghazi. the mission that drew chris and shawn and their colleagues to libya is both noble and necessary. and we and the people of libya honor their memory by carrying it forward. this is not easy. today, many americans are asking, indeed, i asked myself, how could this happen? how could this happen in a country we helped liberate in a city we helped save from destruction? this question reflects just how complicated and at times how confounding the world can be.
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but we must be clear eyed even in our grief. this was an attack by a small and salvage group. not the government or people of libya. everywhere chris and his team went in libya in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. and when the attack came yesterday, libyans stood and fought to defend our post. some were wounded. libyans carried chris's body to the hospital. and they helped rescue and lead other americans to safety. and last night when i spoke with the president of libya, he strongly condemned the violence and pledged every effort to protect our people and pursue
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those responsible. the friendship between our countries born out of shared struggle will not be another casualty of this attack. a free and stable libya is still in america's interest and security. and we will not turn our back on that. nor will we rest until those responsible for these attacks are found and brought to justice. we are working closely with the libyan authorities to move swiftly and surely. we are also working with partners around the world to safeguard other american embassies, consulates and citizens. there will be more time later to reflect but today we have work to do. there is no higher priority than protecting our men and women wherever they serve. we are working to determine the
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precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. some have sought to justify this vicious behavior along with the protest that took place at our embassy in cairo yesterday as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. america's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. but let me be clear. there is no justification for this. none. violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith. and as long as there are those who would take nept life in the name of god the world will never know a true and lasting peace. it is especially difficult that this happened on september 11th.
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it's an anniversary that means a great deal to all americans. every year on that day we are reminded that our work is not yet finished. that the job of putting an end to violent extremism and building a safe and stable world continues. but september 11th means even more than that. it is a day on which we remember thousands of american heroes. the bonds that connect all americans wherever we are on this earth. and the values that see us through every storm. and now it is a day on which we will remember sean, chris and their colleagues. may god bless them and may god bless the thousands of americans working in every corner of the
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world who make this country the greatest force for peace, prosperity and progress. and a force that has always stood for human dignity, the greatest force the world has ever known. and may god continue to bless the united states of america. thank you. >> secretary of state hillary clinton talking about the attacks in benghazi, libya. the attacks thatost the life of an american ambassador, ambassador stevens. let's head back to washington and check in. the thing that struck me about secretary clinton's speech, she said that the libyan attack, the attack in benghazi, the work of a small and savage group, not the government or people of libya. what was she trying to get across there? >> well, what she is trying to get across, carol, is what the u.s. has been talking about and
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fearing in this whole arab spring, is that basically even as the country and the countries elect many from islamic parties and also people that are muslim and religious, these extremists are trying to hijack these arab revolutions and so we saw it in libya. there's a lot of concern that's happening in egypt and trying to say the u.s. will always stand on the side of those libyans, those egyptians, those of whatever country you want to name if they're going to fight for the democratic values that they said that they were fighting for when they overthrew the dictators. the u.s. stood by, stood by these protesters, stood by these social movements, these youth as they tried to overthrow the dictators for a better life and that's the life that chris stevens, that others are trying to help give them. and what she is trying to say is there are some groups in libya, in other countries trying to hijack this. extremism. we have seen it. libya is still not a stable
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country yet. it's on the way but not stable and the question is, are these governments able to secure the country from these extremist groups clearly operating in areas of chaos where the government, where the security vf secret services are not there. seeing it in egypt, too, the embassy yesterday. does the u.s. feel that the government of morsi was responsible for this attack? no. they don't. they're -- the u.s. is going to continue to work with these governments, with these people, but they also have to have a responsibility to make sure that these groups do not hijack the entire democratic process as they keep moving forward. >> reporting live from washington for us, thanks so much. we want to head to jacksonville, florida, check in with the producer on the scene there. governor romney was supposed to make a statement in person but then suddenly changed his mind. why? >> well, carol, actually, he's
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just pulled up on site. the motorcade just arrived and what we have seen, we have watched. he was planning to have an event here with supporters and turned from a rally type of atmosphere to a solemn atmosphere. they took downstreamers and put up curtains and flags and now waiting for him to come in and make a statement to the press about the situation of libya and expecting to bring the reporters back in, the supporters and brought in and for romney to hold the event, campaign event just as was planned this morning. >> just so i'm clear because, of course, we have been getting changing information all morning long. the governor will make this short statement on the situation in libya in egypt in person? >> yes. >> alone in a room? >> right. we do have something to show. we're seeing a blue curtain. more american flags. bringing more american flags out and a podium. romney will come in.
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he's outside the site. so he will come in and make the statement and then going to reset the room. bring the reporters who are waiting outside back in to hea from the governor, as well. first we'll hear him make a statement on the middle east and the issues. >> any idea what that statement might entail? >> all i can tell you right now, carol, is there's controversy over the statement that the romney campaign released last night. romney said that he was outraged by the attacks on the diplomatic missions in libya and egypt and that this was -- before the deaths of the ambassadors and other three. the three deaths. and the statement he had some heated words for president obama. he said disgraceful that the obama administration's first response is not to condemn the attacks on the missions but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks and in reference to the statement that was put out by the u.s. embassy in egypt talking about the video that was released that was targeting
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islam. so again, that state of mind calling -- where he called the response disgraceful before learning of the death of the ambassador. >> right. just to be clear, he didn't change his mind. he just thought it would be more appropriate in a more subdued setting. >> right. i mean, that's certainly what we have seen here happen here. they have turned it in to a more somber event learning the news coming out. >> thank you so much for being with us, rachel. of course, when governor romney is behind the podium, we'll go back to jacksonville live. we'll take a quick break. we'll be back with more. growin. but how am i going to fund it? and i have to find a way to manage my cash flow better. [ female announcer ] our wells fargo bankers are here to listen, offer guidance and provide you with options tailored to your business. we've loaned more money to small businesses than any other bank for ten years running.
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affect seniors today and in the future? find out with the aarp voters' guide at earnedasay.org okay. we have been talking all morning about this terrible attack in benghazi, libya, on the american consulate building there. u.s. ambassador chris stevens
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died in an attack on his car. two other americans also died. hillary clinton has identified one. but the other two, they're still -- they still have to notify the family and can't pass along the names. we want to head out to libya now to check in with our correspondent there. is it calm there now? >> reporter: the situation here, carol, in the libyan capital in tripoli is normal. driving around the -- >> i apologize, governor romney has just in jacksonville, florida. let's listen. >> individuals who have served in our diplomatic corps were brutally murdered across the world. this attack on american individuals and embassies is outrageo outrageous, it's disgusting. it breaks the hearts of all of us who think of these people who have served during their lives, the cause of freedom and justice and honor.
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we mourn their loss. and join together in prayer that the spirit of the almighty might comfort the families of those who have been so brutally slain. four diplomats lost their life including the u.s. baeambassado jay christopher stevens and i extend my condolences to the grieving loved ones who have left behind as a result of these who have lost their lives in the service of our nation. and i know that the people across america are grateful for their service. and we mourn their sacrifice. america will not tolerate attacks ainst our citizens and against our embassies. we'll defend, also, our constitutional rights of speech and assembly and religion. we have confidence in our cause
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in america. we respect our constitution. we stand for the principles our constitution protects. we encourage other nations to understand and respect the principles of our constitution because we recognize that these principles are the ultimate source of freedom for individuals around the world. i also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in egypt instead of condemning their actions. it's never too early for the united states government to condemn attacks on americans and to defend our values. the white house distanced itself last night from the statement saying it one cleared by washington. that reflects the mixed signals they're sending to the world. the attacks in libya and egypt underscore that the world remains a dangerous place and that american leadership is still sorely needed. in the face of this violence,
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america cannot shrink from the responsibility to lead. american leadership is necessary to ensure that events in the region don't spin out of control. we cannot hesitate to use our influence in the region, to support those who share our values and our interests. over the last several years, we have stood witness to an arab spring that presents an opportunity for a more peaceful and prosperous region. but also, poses the potential for peril if the forces of extremism and violence are allowed to control the course of events. we must strive to ensure that the arab spring does not become an arab winter. with that, i'm happy to take any questions you may have. steve? [ inaudible ] the embassy in cairo put out a statement after their grounds had been breached, protesters were inside the grounds. they reiterated that statement
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after the breach. i think it's a -- a terrible course for america to stand in apology for our values. that instead when our grounds are being attacked, and being breached, that the first response to the united states must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation. and apology for america's values is never the right course. >> governor romney, do you think, though, coming so soon after the events really had unfolded overnight was appropriate, to be weighing in on this as the crisis is unfolding in realtime? >> the white house also issued a statement said they were not reflecting of their views. the views were inappropriate. they were the wrong course to take. when our embassy is -- has been
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breached by protesters. the first response shoul not be to say, yes, we stand by our comments that suggest that there's something wrong with the right of free speech. >> what did the white house do wrong then, governor romney, if they put out a -- >> it's their administration. their administration spoke. the president takes responsibility not just for the words coming from his mouth but also from the words of his ambassador's, from his administration, from his embassies, from his state department. they clearly sent mixed messages to the world and the statement of the administration and the embassy is the administration. the statement that came from the administration was a statement which is akin to apology and i think was a severe miscalculation. >> governor, some are -- >> mixed signals -- washington -- mixed signal which you criticized the administration as -- [ inaudible ] >> we have a campaign for
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presidency of the united states and speaking about the different courses we would each take with regards to the challenges that the world faces. we have differences of opinion. with regard to israel and policies there. with regards to iran, afghanistan. with regards to syria. we have many places of distinction and differences. we join together in the condemnation of the attacks on american embassies and the loss of american life and join in the sympathy for these people. but it's also important for me just as it was for the white house last night by the way to say that the statements were inappropriate and in my view a disgraceful statement on the part of our administration to apologize for american values. >> some said you jumped the gun with that statement last night and should have waited until more details were available. do you regret having the statement come out? >> i don't think we ever hesitate when we see something
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which is a violation of our principles. we express immediately when we feel that the president and his administration have done something which is inconsistent with the principles of america. simply put, having an embassy which is -- has been breached and has protesters on its grounds, having violated the sovereignty of the united states, having that embassy reiterate a statement effectively apologizing for the right of free speech is not the right course for an administration. >> last question. >> if you had known last night that the ambassador had died -- >> that came later. >> that's right. if you had known that the ambassador -- >> i'm not going to take hypothetics of what would have been known when. we responded last night the events that happened in egypt. >> governor, a -- [ inaudible ] can you talk about why specifically you're better qualified than president obama? >> i think president obama has
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demonstrated a lack of clarity as to a foreign policy. my foreign policy has three fundamental branches. first, confidence in our cause. a recognition that the principles america was based upon are not something we shrink from or apologize for. we stand for those principles. the second is clarity in our purpose. which is that when we have a foreign policy objective we describe it honestly and clearly to the american people, to congress and to the people of the world. and number three is resolve in our might. that in those rare circumstances those rare circumstances where we decide it's essential for us to apply military might we do so with overwhelming force, that we do so in the clarity of a mission, understanding the nature of the u.s. interest involved, understanding when the mission would be complete. what would be left when it is -- what will be left behind us when
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that mission has been terminated. these elements i believe are essential to our foreign policy and i haven't seen them from the president. as i've watched over the past three and a half years, the president has had some successes. he's had some failures. it's a hit or miss approach but it's not been based upon sound foreign policy. >> governor romney -- how specifically, governor romney would president romney have handled this situation differ t differently than president obama? how would you have handled this differently than president obama? >> i spoke out when the key fact i referred to was known which was that the embassy of the united states issued what appeared to be an apology for american principles. that was a mistake and i believe that when a mistake is made of that significance you speak out. thank you. >> all right. mitt romney, some tough words. not backing down at all. i want to read you the initial statement released by the embassy of the united states.
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this is what mitt romney was talking about. this is what he was talking about when he said that the obama administration was issuing an apology for american policy. the white house, of course, said the embassy of the united states put this out. not the white house but i'm going to read you the statement in question. the embassy of the united states in cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of muslims as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions and then romney responded to that statement last night by saying i'm outraged by the attacks on american diplomatic missions in libya and egypt and by the death of an american consulate worker in benghazi. it's disgraceful that the obama administration's first response was not to condemn the attacks on our diplomatic missions but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks. as you know, secretary of state clinton spoke about 40 minutes ago and she had much tougher words than was indicated in that statement by the embassy of the
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united states in cairo. let's listen to what she had to say about the attackers in benghazi. >> it is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. we condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence and we send our prayers to the families, friends and colleagues of those we've lost. this was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of libya. >> okay. now keep in mind that secretary of state clinton and president obama will be making another statement on what happened at these embassies and consulate buildings in libya and egypt? just about 15 minutes. at least we think so. sometimes the things run slalat. rachel sleigtfield is with
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governor romney in jacksonville. give us your thoughts on what governor romney said, rachel. >> well, we heard a few things of governor romney and express the grief of the deaths. and his sympathy for the families of those affect and opening distance between him and president obama on foreign policy. he criticized obama for that statement that the u.s. embassy in egypt put out saying that -- saying that even though the obama administration's tried to distance itself from that statement that obama was still the president and so he was still in charge and should take the blame for things that romney said left to defend people who were attacking the embassy and instead of defending the american value of religious tolerance, religious freedom. that's what romney said. he took questions of reporters of whether it was appropriate to issue that statement criticizing president obama while events were still unfolding but romney
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stood by what he said. he said even though obama may have distanced himself, the white house may have distanced themselves they're at the top and so still are responsible in some way. >> i did notice asked the question withhold you have done differently, if you had been president obama, do you think he answered that question? >> well, carol, we heard him say that president obama has not been clear on his foreign policy. and romney says that he will be clear and less hesitant to use resolve in the might and that his two of the focuses on the clarity of purpose. americans abroad. >> he didn't quite answer the question. rachel, thank you so much for reporting live for us. another reminder, ten or 15 minutes we do expect president obama along with secretary of state hillary clinton to make a statement about the events in libya and egypt. right now, new york city and check in with christiane
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amanpour. you've been everywhere. you know a lot about this stuff. so, the rhetoric that's now flying around in the united states, is that good for the situation unfolding in libya and in egypt? >> well, carol, i'm not really going to talk about the political domestic reporting here and the political dynamic, but what's responsibility is to see what's going on outside. secretary of state hillary clinton just made a very strong speech condemning what happened in libya and in egypt. condemning in the strongest possible terms the attack on those embassies and consulates and killing of u.s. ambassador and other officials. i think important for viewers to understand is what she tried to say also is that this is not all of the arab world. this is not all libyans or all egyptians. these are very, very small parts, very small extremist members of these countries and voting -- rather polling shows
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that by a great margin people in libya, for instance, are supporting the united states and are very graceful for what the u.s. contributed in in the liberation of libya back a year ago. and we can see even the libyan officials who have made statements have apologized to the people of libya. we're waiting to see what happens elsewhere around the world because horribly awful to say we've seen this movie before sort to speak. we saw what happened in afghanistan and that region back in 2011 and 2010 when the florida pastor terry jones threatened to burn a qkoran and then did burn one and president karzai strongly condemned the film and trying to tamp down any kind of outbreak against any kind of american facilities in afghanistan. they've tried to tamp down youtube there so people can't see this trailer that's going around. so it's causing a lot of anxiety
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amongst american allies in that part of the world, as well. >> senator john mccain issued a statement along with joe lieberman. they said that somebody has to be arrested, somebody has to be arrested for these attacks in benghazi. do you think that the libyan government is in a position to do that? will they do that? should it do that? >> i think it's going to have to. you heard a very strong statement from secretary of state clinton, as well, saying that they wanted to hunt these people down and bring them to justice. and they're working with the libyan government to make sure that happens. it's true that in some parts of libya there are, you know, militias and security personnel who have not yet been brought fully under the control of the central government. it's moving in that direction but it's not fully in control of the central government. and that's a big challenge for start-up country, if you like, a start-up attempt at democracy in that part of the world but that is going to have to be seen to be happening.
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the libyan authorities will have to take measures against these people and hunt them down and bring them to justice as we have heard and as i said a strong statement from libya apologizing in very strong terms for what happened. >> yeah. i'm just wondering how difficult that process will be. >> you know, we can speculate, carol. we can speculate it will be difficult. we can speculate on and on about it but the fact of the matter is these things will have to be done and it appears at least that the libyans are saying the right thing. and i think that's very important. it's not like the libyans are saying, oh well, you know, sorry this happened. we're not going to take measures to try to hunt these people down. they seem to be saying the right things and as i say, though, i think one has a huge challenge going ahead. secretary of state hillary clinton made very clear that the united states has been a bastion of not just democracy but
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religious tolerance and something to promote in the rest of the world, as well. what we are seeing, also, though, is you've heard the filmmaker say this was a political movie. they knew what was at stake. they knew what could happen. he was warned it could happen and he knew that that was going to happen. he took that on board. so this is also if you like an incitement, as well. i think that has to be something that's a big challenge as we go forward trying to figure out, you know, what our responsibilities are, as well. >> right. we live in the country that believes in free speech. as far as i know that film is still posted on youtube and you can see it here, the united states. and i think "the wall street journal" reporting that filmmaker is in hiding and fearful for his life. >> exactly. when he was called at least after the egyptian security crisis around the embassy apparently according to published reports the filmmaker said, you know, i did it. i knew what was going to happen. this is a political film. and he called islam a cancer.
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now, there is free speech. nobody's denying that. the question is, does one have to weigh one's words in this kind of situation? or in any kind of situation. is there some kind of responsibility against incitement? is there some kind of measure when it comes to free speech or hate speech? and look, you know, the united states in 1919 had a very, very important supreme court decision which essentially boiled down to you can't cry fire in a crowded theater. and it's very important that. i know it's very difficult in these days with this huge internet, this mass communications that gets reverberated around the world. how to balance all of that with free speech. >> well, it's interesting you say that because i know there are some calls within egypt that the u.s. justice department get involved and bring a charge against this filmmaker. >> well, i think that's, you know, for the united states to decide how it proceeds. i mean, probably a nonstarter
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that. but as i say, you know, those of us who are on public platforms and who actually do speak and our words are counted, you, me, whoever else, we all every day measure what we say and part of a democracy which believes in free speech. so, you know, these are issues as i say. we have seen this movie before. this has happened over and over again whether in afghanistan, whether in the netherlands. those who go out to deliberately incite find that they play in to the hands of those very extremists in that other part of the world that we don't want to incite or or rather we don't want to validate. so those extremists out there use this stuff and whip up for their own political, religious, cultural, whatever reasons they have. so they're using it, as well. >> interesting. christiane amanpour, thank you so much for sharing your incite. always valuable. we appreciate it.
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i've been telling you that president obama along with secretary of state hillary clinton expected to have a joint news conference in about ten or 15 moneys. let's head to washington now to the white house and check in with white house correspondent brianna keeler. i thought it was interesting president obama would have secretary of state hillary clinton by his side. >> reporter: yeah. and obviously as you know she made remarks, as well. she will be next to him. she is one of the very popular members of his cabinet. someone, obviously, who's very respected and well liked. and this is becoming obviously a political issue. you can't ignore that, carol. we heard last night or not heard i should say but mitt romney criticized president obama and the obama administration and the reaction very much tying him to a statement that dacame out fro the cairo embassy, the statement the white house is distancing itself from and mitt romney
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taking some criticism now because of tying president obama to that, a statement made before it became apparent that anyone was killed in these incidents in libya. so the criticism we heard last night sort of appears mitt romney doubling down on some of that a short time ago from the campaign trail in jacksonville. he said that this was akin to aapology and disgraceful and president obama will condemn the violence. he did that in a paper statement earlier today and that religious beliefs should not be denigrated and caused the violence and protests so we're waiting to see, as well, if president obama weighs in on the political nature of this, carol, since it's becoming an issue on the campaign trail and sort of discussion over really who has better foreign policy credentials as mitt romney criticizes his and behind the scenes the obama campaign is criticizing mitt romney's response to this.
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>> fascinating. thanks. live from the white house. that statement, that initial statement that was issued by the embassy of the united states in cairo, i just want to read you a bit of it. this is the statement that set off mitt romney. quote, the embassy of the united states in cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of muslims as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions and says, quote, we firmly reject the actions of those that abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others. end quote. the white house says it did not okay this statement. the embassy of the united states put out this statement on its own. and as you heard just a few minutes ago of mitt romney, mitt romney, of course, does not approve of the statement. he came out swinging. wolf blitzer is here now joining us live from washington. the president is going to come up and talk about the sensitive incidents in libya and egypt. he can't exactly be playing politics. thes president.
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>> this is way above politics right now. four americans have been killed in a brutal -- i can only call it a massacre. at the benghazi. this after the united states, the nato allies, many in the arab world and moderate arab states worked together to get rid of gadhafi in libya and to see the attack on a mission in benghazi, that's way beyond politics, carol. this is a huge national security issue that's developed and goes to underscore that in these kinds of presidential debates when everyone is focusing on domestic issues, economic issues, the jobs related issues and domestic social issues that a national security crisis and this is a crisis right now can explode. you got what's going on in ben zba ga zi in libya right now. you got what's going on in cairo. american flags are burned. and it's a dangerous situation. this is one of the largest diplomatic missions that the united states has in the world.
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a lot of americans serving at the u.s. embassy in cairo. that's where they distribute more than $1.5 billion a year in u.s. economic and military assistance. mostly military assistance to egypt. but all that very much up in the air and then you have some serious tensions shall we say developing overnight as well between prime minister netanyahu of israel and the president of the united states. all exploding in to a set of issues that will clearly affect the u.s. political campaign over the next at least several days. we'll see how it all unfolds. let's hope it quiets down. the week after next, the united nations general assembly, carol, convenes in new york and leaders of more than 100 countries including ahmadinejad is coming from iran. they'll be all descending on new york. the president will be in new york. mitt romney will be in new york. both by the way will be speaking at the clinton global initiative which coincides with the u.n. general assembly week in new
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york and the national security and foreign policy will be an issue in the campaign even when so many thought it was way down the ladder, if you will. it's obviously emerging with a tragic vengeance given the death of four americans. >> let's go back to mitt romney's news conference where he really doubled down on president obama calling him an apoll gist. things are still tense in libya. as far as we know they're searching for these people who carried out that attack on the consulate building in mbenbengh. i don't know. was it wise? oh. wolf, the president is coming out with the secretary of state. let's listen. >> good morning. every day all across the world american diplomats and civilians work tirelessly to advance the interests and values of our
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nation. often, they are away from their families, sometimes they brave great danger. yesterday, four of these extraordinary americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in benghazi. among those killed was our ambassador, chris stevens. as well as foreign service officer sean smith. we are still notifying the families of the others who were killed. and today, the american people stand united in holding the families of the four americans in our thoughts and in our prayers. the united states condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. we're working with the government of libya to secure our diplomats. i have directed by nrgs to increase the security at diplomatic posts around the world and make no mistake. we will work with the libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our
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people. since our founding, the united states has been a nation that respects all faiths. we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. but there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. none. the world must stand together to une equivalentically reject the acts. already, many libyans joined us in doing so and the attack will not break the bonds between the united states and libya. libyan security personnel fought back alongside americans. libyans helped some of the diplomats find safety and carried ambassador steven's body to the hospital where we tragically learned that he had died. it's especially tragic that chris stevens died in benghazi because it is a city that he helped to save. at the height of the libyan revolution, chris led the post
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in benghazi with characteristic skill, courage and resolve he built partnerships with libyan revolutionaries and helped them as they planned to build a new libya. when the gadhafi regem ends, he was there and worked to support the young democracy and i think both secretary clinton and i relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there. he was a role model who all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspired to walk in his footsteps. along with his colleagues, chris died in a country that's still striving to emerge from the recent experience of war. today, the loss of these four americans is fresh but our memories of them linger on. i have no doubt that their legacy will live on through the work they did far from our
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shores and in the hearts of those who loved them back home. of course, yesterday, was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. we mourned with the families who were lost on that day. i visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in iraq and afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of arlington cemetery. and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at walter reed. and then last night we learned the news of this attack in benghazi. as americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it and in some cases lay down their lives for it. our country's only as strong as the character of our people. and the service of those both civilian and military who
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represent us around the globe. no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. today we mourn for more americans who represent the very best of the united states of america. we will not waiver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act and make no mistake. justice will be done. but we also know that the lives of these americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers. these four americans stood up for freedom and human dignity. they should give every american great pride in the country that they served and the hope that the flag represents to people around the globe who also yearn to live in freedom and with dignity. we grieve with their families but let us carry on their memory and let us continue their work of seeking a stronger america
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and a better world for all of our children. thank you. may god bless the memory of those we lost and may god bless the united states of america. >> mr. president, was this an act of war? >> all right. so there the president and secretary of state, they leave the rose garden. they're going back in to the oval office. you see them together. we're told that the president just added to the schedule a visit to the state department. i assume he'll go over there to express his condolences to the career foreign services, the ambassador chris stevens was a respected career foreign service officer, a veteran u.s. diplo t diplomat. people don't always appreciate the sacrifice they make. they serve democratic presidents, republican presidents and do a fabulous job over the years and very often under very, very dangerous circumstances. ambassador cis stevens and the information specialist sean smith, both of them confirmed dead in this attack on the u.s.
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consulate in benghazi. both experienced and working very hard and ambassador stevens had struggled during the uprising against gadhafi working with the rebels trying to coordinate some sort of strategy. and it's an awful, awful situation. an awful tragedy he's been killed. comes under the headline no good deed shall go unpunished. ambassador chris stevens is someone who was highly, highly respected, risked his life often and has obviously now paid with his life for what he's tried to achieve. i was struck, carol, as we assess what's going on and we get ready for the president to add this visit to the state department by what he said. i don't think he said it once but twice. make no mistake. justice will be done. that says to me that the u.s. will try to find out who's responsible for this attack on the u.s. diplomatic mission in benghazi. who are the individuals responsible? and the u.s. will go after these individuals. capture them or kill them. when he says justice will be
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done, that is not an idle threat. that is a direct threat to those directly involved and if the libyan government doesn't produce these individuals, i suspect the u.s. government will go forth and try to find out who they were and make sure that justice is served. that's one huge issue right now. the other huge issue, obviously, is what happened at the u.s. embassy in cairo yesterday. when it was attacked. and the u.s. flag was burned. it was replaced by a black flag. all of this as a result of some anger because of a youtube video, some sort of film that portrayed the prophet muhammad in a less than positive way. and it's causing major political ramifications as our viewers by now know. mitt romney just a little while before the president issued a very strong statement himself, condemning these attacks but at the same time the same time condemning the initial statement by the u.s. embassy in cairo which was clearly a misguided
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statement that went after those who produced these kinds of films. and didn't directly, directly condemn those who attacked the u.s. embassy in cairo. so this is going to cause a lot of political uproar and back and forth between the romney and obama campaigns. i was also struck by the fact that both of these attacks occurred on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11. yesterday when i spoke to mike rodgers, he made it clear that there are elements of al qaeda in libya right now. in fact, in tunisia, as well, and perhaps not coincidental that these attacks on the u.s. embassy in cairo and the u.s. diplomatic mission, the consulate in benghazi did occur on 9/11. so there's a lot of tension going on in that part of the world in north africa and the middle east right now. and it's going to cause heartburn for u.s. national security specialists. carol? >> you will be talking more about this on "the situation room." thank you for being with us.
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martin indik is an ambassador to israel, at the
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brookings institution and author of "innocent abroad." welcome. thank you for being with us this morning. >> thank you. >> i know you knew ambassador stevens. the ambassador that was killed in the benghazi attack. tell us about him. >> chris worked for me when i was the assistant secretary of state for the middle east in the second term of the clinton administration. he was then the iran desk officer and there was hope for a period of an opening to iran and he was busily learning fastly on the side in the hope that he would be one of the first american diplomats to be posted to iran if we were able to normalize relations and open an embassy there. it was typical of chris's enthusiasm and i'm haunted by the smile on his face that has been projected by cnn and others this morning of his official
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photograph. that captured chris. he was always enthusiastic and cheery in everything that he did and he always wanted to be on the front lines so it's no surprise to me that when we opened up in libya under the bush administration that he was the first out there. and that he stayed there and worked with the libyan opposition to overthrow gadhafi. he was a typical of those diplomats like ryan crocker or robert ford in damascus who are keen to be out there in the field on the front lines risking their lives for the sake of promoting american interest. it's a terrible thing that's happened here and i really grieve for him and for his family, as well. >> yeah. wife and two children he leaves behind. president obama just spoke. he said there's no justication to this senseless violence but didn't throw libya under the bus, sort to speak. was this the right thing to say?
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>> look. this was clearly not the intention of the libyan government. many of them work closely with chris and depended on him. it was not in their interest to have him assassinated in this terrible way. and i think that they've been quick to apologize and i would hope that they would work quickly to crack down on and arrest those responsible. by the same token, this was no just mob lynching. you don't go to a demonstration with rpgs so there was something more organized behind this attack i suspect. and it's very important that the libyan government get to the bottom of that and make sure that as president obama said they're -- the perpetrators of this horrible assassination are brought to justice. >> mitt romney is accusing the president of initially being an
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apologist for the terrorists. do you agree? >> no, i don't. and i think it's a shame that initial like this should be used as a political football. we should -- at moments like this, it's just -- i think it's just not appropriate to get in to a slinging match by either side and i would hope that out of respect for the americans that have been killed here that the politicians would just pull back for at least a day. >> ambassador, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us this morning. we appreciate it. >> thank you. i'm carol costello. thank you so much for joining us today. we'll continue after a short break. at purina one, we believe small things can make a big difference. like how a little oil from here can be such a big thing in an old friend's life.
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